Thursday, December 11, 2008

Our kids in college - Is it possible? Is it affordable?




Thanks to mom "K" for sending me this ABS News video clip about Chapel Haven West, a two-year residential program for young adults with mild developmental disabilities that features a partnership with the University of Arizona-Tuscon. Participants have the chance to attend university classes, with support.

This sounds like a great program; unfortunately, according to their web site, the yearly program cost for 2008-09 is $52,500. Ouch! I scouted around the web site for resources on scholarships but didn't find much - except a reference in their annual report to a scholarship fund. Perhaps government funding programs (if they are left) can be applied towards the cost of such programs? Let's hope I overlooked something!

While googling for information about this program, I did come across a great annotated resource list on issues for young adults on the autism spectrum, from the Anabaptist Disabilities Network website, " Asperger Resources for Young Adults." You can access this list on the Asperger Syndrome page of the Network web site (on the right). The list describes a number of programs similar to Chapel Haven; most are on the East coast or in the Midwest.

So, for those of us with children who could benefit from such programs - is it reassuring to know that they are out there? Is is depressing and anxiety-producing to know that they are out there but affordability is, well, let's just say - a challenge? How do you see it?

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Affordiblity...YIKES (sorry for my caps, but if you could see my jaw).

For my son (he's in the 3rd grade here, so understand), I figure with the amount of kids who are diagnosed in the next few years, colleges are going to have to figure out how to deal with all of our kids. College is at least 10 years away...they have got come up with things like this in the next ten or so years...and make it affordable.

I know CNN had a story about 6 months/a year ago about the same type of program...how to support the growing number of young adults on the spectrum in college (like 'resource room' courses, teach them skills how to turn in work, etc).

52K? Yikes. Guess we need to start that education plan...

Katie

Carol said...

I know! Maybe by time some of our kids are in their teens there will be funding options. Until then, save your pennies.

Anonymous said...

Geez...52K?
Katie

Susan said...

How marvellous to hear that there IS such a programme...and you're right, how devastating to hear what it costs.

My son turns nine next week, but I'm going to start nagging the system NOW for what's available to him when he's out of school. If there is something in our country, I'll need to start putting together cash right now, to even hope to afford it. And what cash? We're the proverbial church mice!

But, I have friends who adopted a beautiful baby boy from Russia several years ago. They didn't have money either, but they did have friends and good ideas. They put on an annual fundraiser and ran seven marathons (not even fit when they started!) and sold t-shirts to raise the money, and they did it in the end: tens of thousands. I'm afraid our family will be looking at the same effort.

If my son could go to a university and achieve a degree? Worth ANYTHING.

Thanks for passing this on!

Carol said...

I'm glad you are thinking ahead. I hear stories about parents here who don't think about transition issues until their kids are in their mid-teens - and that's way too late.

Anonymous said...

This is sort of off-topic (but kind of germaine, too)...I remember an article in Time magazine about some Down's Syndrome young adults...how they were paving the way. Most young adults who have it, didn't live past a certain point, but now they were.

What they were doing (this was in NY) was sort of like an IEP for adults...setting a plan in motion for the young person (with the young person's input and structure to it), like how were they going to be independent, how were they going to pay rent (ie. a job), etc, in other words live a full and productive life...

I remember thinking they (these young adults and families because the families were also involved) were paving the way for families like us. I assume that my son will be on something like that (if it is available), too, eventually.

Now, we just need to get the government to help fund this type of thing...


Katie

johnnycasino1 said...

A colleague of mine in Portland just sent his son to Marshall college in West Virginia which is geared around children with autism or autism related diagnosis.

I haven't looked into this in detail, but this looks like a wonderful option (if only it wasn't so far away).

This is the autism specific school:
http://www.marshall.edu/coe/atc/about.htm

Which in integrated with the overall university:
http://www.marshall.edu/

Hope that helps! Tony

johnnycasino1 said...

I realized I said "children" - I should say 18-22 year old's - which I guess is no longer children!

Carol said...

Thanks, Tony, for that link to the Marshall college program; I took a look and it is less expensive than the Arizona one; $3,200 per semester plus regular tuition, room and board, etc. But, still a lot less than 52k a year.

It seems like there are few, if any, of these programs on the West coast,creating one would be great. Something else for all our "to do lists." Arg!